Classic Holiday Movie Faces Controversy


Credit: People Magazine

No matter how old you are, you still probably look forward to many shows and movies from your childhood.  Whether it’s Polar Express or Home Alone, holiday season movies are something that bring people together despite their age. But one beloved holiday classic is running into some trouble.

What if your favorite holiday movie was deemed questionable and prevented from being aired on television?

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a 1964 animated movie starring Burl Ives, and Billie Mae Richards as Rudolph, is facing heat for issues of bullying and abuse.

According to People magazine, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer has been shown 5.6 million times since 1964. However, the holiday hit is making waves now because Rudolph, critics say, is verbally abused by his father Donner, his classmates, and teachers.

Senior Ethan Dursht does not think Rudolph being bullied is a problem to the audience.

“I think it made the audience feel empathetic towards Rudolph, which led to the making of a feel-good classic,” Ethan said.

In the movie, Rudolph overcomes bullying by “one foggy Christmas night” guiding Santa’s sleigh and leading the reindeer, becoming a Christmas hero.

Ethan feels as if Rudolph handles the situation of bullying in a proper manor.

“I think there are numerous ways to overcome difficult situations such as bullying, however I think Rudolph does a good job of not teasing them back.”

Ethan also added his opinion on how bullying in this generation is perceived.

“I think a lot of bullying starts with the bully/bullies having struggles of their own,” he said. “It is important to remember everyone has their own ‘stuff’ going on.”

Cal Messina, a junior, feels as if the bullying was resolved at the end of the story.

“He stayed true to himself and used his differences to make him a leader,” he said.

There are many life lessons that can be brought out of the story of Rudolph, but the significance of the story is that, despite what others thought of Rudolph, he still found a way to become a Christmas hero.

Senior Maddie Elsea feels that a lesson can be learned from the story.

“I think that the story of Rudolph teaches the idea that we all, as individuals, bring our own strengths to the table,” she said. “Rudolph thought for many years that his shiny nose held him back, but the end of the story tells us that he simply just has a different gift than the other reindeer around him. His nose is celebrated at the end of the story. ”

It is important that we don’t just look at the negatives in the story but the positive outcome that can help spread and influence  youth.

The Washington Post interviewed Corinne Conley, the voice of “Dolly for Sue” who lived on the “Island of Misfit Toys.”

The film is more relevant now than ever given the increase in bullying incidents of late. But it’s important to note, she said, that the bullying is “reconciled” in ‘Rudolph,’ teaching viewers a lesson at the end of the story.”